Benjamin Britten-Henry Purcell realizations: musical language correlation with original compositions


  • Giedrė Muralytė-Eriksonė



henry purcell, benjamin britten, realization, musical analysis.


English music and literature has deep traditions. In twentieth century the composers had the idea to refresh English music and literature, to show the beauty, freedom, and vividness of the English language. Benjamin Britten (1913–1976) was inspired by Henry Purcell‘s (1659–1695), the Baroque composers,  musical language, which made use of texts in an expressive and free manner and was very modern in his living time. The identified patterns will be used to explain the linkages between the musical text in Britten’s realizations of several of Purcell’s, which were expressive and free, more like improvisations, filled with strong notes diatonically and chromatically. The paper will analyze the parallels between Britten’s realizations of Purcell’s songs Not all my Torments,  Mad Bess, If Music Be the Food of Love (1rst and 3rd versions) from Orpheus Britannicus and the deep connection with original songs from vocal cycles by Britten Winter Words op. 52 and Sechs Hölderlin-Fragmente op. 61. Some interpretation ideas of the realization If music be the food of love (3rd version) from Orpheus Britannicus Seven Songs are also included.